The benefit of Wellness Programs in the Workplace

| August 30, 2019

Australian workplaces are increasingly taking responsibility for the health of their employees by introducing programs that encourage healthful habits and good nutrition. Championing healthy choices in the workplace seems like a good approach to improving your team’s well-being, but does introducing a wellness plan actually have a positive impact on overall workplace health and well-being?

If you’re considering introducing any kind of wellness program in to the workplace, it is important to consider the risks that may come with it, in order to protect your staff. If the program includes an exercise element, look at whether all participants are in a physical position to take part, for example; pregnant women, people with back issues, or a disability.  This sort of a program must also take in to consideration varying fitness levels, age and ability etc.

Will the program include a restrictive eating plan, or rigid rules that not everybody will be able to stick to? Before starting, make sure the team understands the program by outlining clearly what will be expected of them, and of course participation in any such program should be optional.

Rather than simply imposing a set ‘diet’, there is far more benefit in introducing a program that teaches and encourages healthful habits and an understanding of good nutrition. Given how difficult and defeating traditional diets can be it stands to reason that we are far more likely to enjoy, and stick with health and nutrition educational programs than a restrictive diet.

There are a few key things to consider when choosing the right program for your workplace to make sure it supports wellness with a healthy approach.

Promote healthy nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, learning how to make healthier choices is an important first step towards improving overall health. To promote wellness in the workplace, a program should focus on helping employees learn more about healthy nutritional intake.

Wholefood and plant-based programs are a great addition to the workplace as they focus on a holistic and unrestrictive approach. Encouraging employees to eat until they are comfortably full will fuel their body with the nutrition needed to stay alert and maintain productivity throughout the day.

Build a support network

Working through a new program together with your co-workers can alleviate some of the stress and confusion that comes with making positive lifestyle changes. Introducing regular meet ups for employees to share their health journey and check in with one another is a great way to promote a supportive working environment.

Building a strong support network will not only encourage employees to persevere with the program but also provides an opportunity for team building in the workplace.

Promoting healthy physical activity

Many of us work long hours behind a desk, but this doesn’t mean we can’t get a healthy amount of exercise into our day. Taking a brisk walk at lunch time can be a great way to conveniently fit exercise into your day and get the body moving.

Adding exercise to your daily routine helps to improve overall health and wellbeing and is a crucial element to any health and wellness program. Consider coordinating group exercise sessions for staff. It’s fun, gets them up and away from their desks, improves their health, and their productivity will soar as a result.

Nurture mental wellbeing

The word ‘diet’ is often surrounded by negative connotations, where feelings of guilt and shame arise. Rigid diet plans that are based on calorie counting should be avoided in the workplace. These plans are restrictive and often promote an unhealthy relationship with food instead of building an understanding of how to make healthier choices.

When it comes to introducing a well-being program, promoting healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices are the best way to support wellness in the workplace. When choosing the right program for your workplace, make sure to consider the impact it will have on your employees and whether it encourages healthful habits.